Pagan Head

Athlumney

Church, Head and Graveslab

The parish of Navan is made up from five medieval parishes, Athlumney, Cannistown, Donaghmore, Dunmoe and Navan. St James's 13th century church was built by Amauri de Feipo on a manorial estate granted to him by his relation Adam de Feipo, Baron of Skyrne. The 8 metre long, undifferentiated nave and chancel church, stands within a D-shaped graveyard. Very little remains of the church apart from the double belfry tower at the west side. On the south side of the belfry is the charming stone head pictured left. Pagan in appearance, this striking carving stood out as one of the highlights of our visit.

Another interesting stone, is the graveslab, now lying in the ruined church, known as the Chevers-Goff. At the centre is a heater-shaped shield. Across the centre of shield is a line of chevrons. It also bears the Chevers and Goff coats of arms. Curiously, it was tradition for the casket/coffin to be laid on the 'Chevers-Goff' and the De Profundis recited before the deceased was buried. An inscription, that was recorded in the 18th century, dated the slab to 1692. Sadly the letters are no longer visible. Below the shield is a skull and crossbones, to remind us of our own mortality.

Situated: 80 metres west of Athlumney Castle on the opposite side of Convent Road. From Navan take the R153 east and then take the first right, the church is down here on your right. You may have to park in the housing estate at the end of the road.

Discovery Map 42: N 8750 6753. Last visit May 2017.

Longitude: 6° 40' 35" W

Latitude: 53° 39' 1" N

tGoogle Map.

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

East gable

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